CISA / CISM Exam Preparation Tip #4 -- Exam Day Tips

Jennifer Boyce of Deloitte & Touche (Hi Jen!) used to do a great job serving as the Toronto ISACA Chapter’s “Director, Certifications” (a role now very admirably and ably filled by Laureen Ellis).  One of Jennifer’s traditions was to attend the final session of our preparation courses and give her Exam Day Tips.

When she left Toronto, she was kind enough to leave me a copy of the tips (Thanks Jen!).  Here are some important items to keep in mind when you find yourself sitting in that exam room on the big day, along with some of my comments:

Listen to the chief examiner carefully to make sure you understand all of the instructions.

Read each question and multiple-choice answer very carefully.

Every single word counts in the questions and proposed answers. The question creators are skilled at using clever syntax and semantics to create a challenge for you.  So you need to ensure you read and understand the entire question and all possible answers in order to make sure you select the right choice,

There are no penalties for the wrong answer.  Do not leave any question blank.

Fill out the answer sheet correctly – make sure to completely fill in the answer circle.

Make sure your answer corresponds to the right question.  That is, if you are reading question #3, make sure you mark the answer sheet according to question #3.

A word of explanation on that tip: since you are filling out a "ScanTron" or mark sense card, it's easy to get out of sync between which question you're answering and which question you're filling in on the card.  You wouldn't want to give the right answer for Question 4 in the space provided for Question 5.  So pay attention to the mapping between question numbers and the response on the card.

Budget your time – for example, answering 200 questions over four hours gives an average of 50 questions per hour.

Don't be surprised if you take less than four hours to complete the exam. But if you do have time left over, consider reviewing your answers.  Lots of people scorn the idea of altering an answer once you've completed it, but other questions and answers you encounter in the latter part of the exam might cause you to re-examine an answer you gave earlier.

Besides, you've set aside this four hours for the exam...what's the rush? Have another look at your answers.

All questions count, so make sure you give an answer for every one of them.  (Questions may be eliminated during ISACA’s post-exam analysis, but don’t count on that when you’re writing the exam.)

Overall, try to relax, and give it your best effort.

And by all means reward yourself with a nice break after the exam.  You've earned it.


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